Can you eat chicken salad that was left out for 4 hours?
Another important thing to note: If your chicken salad has been sitting out at room temperature for more than 2 hours, both the FDA and USDA recommend not eating it because of food safety issues. So if your chicken salad has been sitting out a couple of hours, TOSS IT!
How long can chicken salad be left at room temperature? Bacteria grow rapidly at temperatures between 40 °F and 140 °F; chicken salad should be discarded if left out for more than 2 hours at room temperature.
Never leave food out of refrigeration over 2 hours. If the temperature is above 90 °F, food should not be left out more than 1 hour.
If you see mold or any kind of growth on your chicken salad, or it has an off color, it's probably safest to throw it away. The most prominent sign of trash-ready salad will be the smell; Chicken salad that has gone bad will smell off and should be discarded immediately, per eHow.
It's tempting to stir up a big batch so that we can enjoy leftovers for a few days. But how long is it safe to keep chicken salad on hand? The short answer is to store chicken salad in a sealed container in the fridge or cooler for no more than four days.
Answer: Salads can be safely left out at room temperature for about two hours — or one hour if the temperature is above 90 degrees Fahrenheit.
To stay safe, sandwiches, salads, and other meals with perishable ingredients shouldn't be left at room temperature for more than 2 hours—max. Leftovers should also go back in the refrigerator within 2 hours.
The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recommends abiding by the "2-Hour Rule" The "2-hour rule" states that perishables left at room temperature for more than two hours should be discarded.
Even if you place Grandma's famous potato salad in the shade, it has a timely expiration. So how long is too long? The FDA says, "Stick to the 'two-hour rule' for leaving items needing refrigeration out at room temperature.
Unless the cooked chicken is kept warm, above 140°F, the general rule of thumb for cooked chicken is that it should not sit out on your kitchen table or buffet for more than two hours. Any cooked chicken left at room temperature for more than two hours should probably be thrown out.
What makes chicken salad spoil?
Bad bacteria can grow rapidly in the "Danger Zone," a temperature range between 40°F and 140°F, so always transport and store chicken salad in the refrigerator or a well-chilled cooler or lunchbox.
Mushy, slimy, soft, and darkened leaves are the most common spoilage sign of lettuce. A bad smell is another one. It's okay if you remove a couple of outer leaves because they're dark, slimy, or damaged, but if the whole head or more than 2 to 3 layers of leaves are affected, it's time to toss the whole lettuce.
You should discard your chicken salad if it sits out for more than two hours. If it's a hot summer day and the temperature is above 90°F (32°C), that period is cut in half to about an hour. That's because bacteria multiply rapidly in temperatures between 40°F (4°C) and 140°F (60°C), also known as the danger zone.
It is not safe to eat raw or cooked chicken that has been sitting out at room temperature for more than two hours. Instead, you should discard it because otherwise, you're putting yourself at risk for food poisoning.